By Eric McKeegan,
Kona continues to keep moving and shaking for 2014. With additional manpower in the bike design department, we’ve seen a ton of new bikes out of the Kona camp the last few years, and 2014 looks to be no different.
Most interesting is the Process enduro line up, which replaces the 26-inch, 150mm 2013 bike with three platforms, utlilizing two wheelsizes and three travel lengths.
The 111 is a 29er, and the 134 and 153 have 27.5-inch wheels. All three bike come in two trim levels: the base build and the high-end DL package. The numerical designation denotes rear travel (111=111mm travel). Every bike has a dropper post, hooray! The low-slung suspension design is new this year, called Rocker Independent Suspension. This is still a linkage activated single pivot, but designed around modern air shock spring rates.
The 111 is pretty darn interesting, a properly slack, low and short 29er, looking to mix it up with genes from both the long-travel Satori and hardtail Honzo, both well-liked bikes at Dirt Rag HQ. The big news is the 430mm (16.9-inch) chainstays, rivaling those of the Specialized Enduro 29. Unlike the Enduro 29, the 111 can NOT utilize a front derailleur, but most people used to 1x systems aren’t going to miss it.
Process 111 DL
The 111 DL uses an XX1 set up, and the base model has a 1×10 drivetrain with a chain guide and X9 clutch derailleur. Both bikes have Rock Shox Revelation forks with 120mm of travel and 32mm stanchions. Base model is $3,700, while the DL is $5,600, making it the most expensive bike in the Process lineup.
Process 134 DL
The 134 has even shorter stays at 425mm (16.7 inches), but the 27.5 wheels mean there is room for a front derailleur and both models have one, pushing the chain across a standard Shimano double with neither chainguide or bash guard. A 140mmm Skector (base model) or Revelation (DL) does the front squishing. Prices are a reasonable $2,600 or $3,600 for the DL.
Process 154 DL
The 154 gets the same short 425mm rear end as the 134. Up front the excellent 35mm RockShox Pike get spec’d on both bikes in 160mm travel. Bashguard equipped 2×10 drivetrains , 8-inch front rotors and a 66.5-degree head angle show these bikes mean business. Prices are a bit higher than the 134, at $3,400 and $5,000.
The 130mm Satori 29er is still in the line up, with a single model retailing for $3,400, which includes FOX 34 and still-not-long 17.3-inch chainstays. The 34 on the Satori brings me to my only real spec complaint with the Process line. I would love to see Pikes across the whole line up. As “enduro” bike, there is no time to be made up climbing, so hauling a bit more weight up the hill for a more precise tracking for going down seems worth it to me. That is complete arm-chair speculation, I’ve got zero saddle time in on any of these, so take that with your recommended dosage of salt.
Also new this year is the Precept and Precept DL, an entry level 27.5 trail bike platform. Both models are less than $2,000 ($1,600 and $1,900) with trail worthy parts and geometry. On the DL a 140mm Sektor Silver is a paired with 130mm at the rear, controlled by a Monarch R damper. The basic Precept uses 120mm front and rear: a RockShox XC30 fork and Fastrax AF-1 rear shock. Both these bikes look to be real trail bike swith B.C. influenced geometry, making these some of the better price point trail bikes I’ve seen.
Also brandy-new for 2014, the Kona fatbike-dubbed “WO”. A butted aluminum frame, full compliment of fender, rack and bottle mounts, and a $1,700 tag, this bike is well positioned to be mighty popular. Add in a swoopy frame design, 135mm front/170mm rear hub spacing, a tapered head tube, and Kona-branded alt-bars and this looks like winner.
We talked about the new Operator Carbon earlier this year and most of the rest of the line up returns for 2014 with very minor changes, if any at all. The 2014 website will go live early next week, stay tuned to www.konaworld.com!